There are three bazaars in Urgut: dehkan bazaar, maize-bazaar (wholesale bazaar of dried fruit) and actually the main Urgut bazaar. The first one is the most ordinary small dehkan (farmer) bazaar, where you will find all the same goods that are sold in other similar markets of Uzbekistan: vegetables and fruits, grocery in small shops and much more. Also there is one aisle with artisans - tinsmiths and blacksmiths. Among their products are various tools needed for farmers’ everyday life: knives, saws, sickles, watering cans, hoe, choppers, shovels, scissors, hoods, stakes, etc. Strolling along these small workshops one can watch with pleasure how artisans work. Blacksmiths harden the blanks in furnaces, and sharpen them on grinders. And in the break between work they will be pleased to offer you a tea.
The second bazaar is the so-called maize bazaar where dried fruits are sold in bulk, and mostly it's kishmish (dried raisins). The famous Urgut kishmish! Sacks, piles, kilograms! Everywhere there is a brisk trade. Buyers carefully inspect the goods, ask the prices, check the quality and learn other necessary information, before deciding on the purchase of a particular variety. And of course - bargaining! No oriental bazaar can’tdo without bargaining! This is where you need to have a certain skill! Many varieties of grapes are grown directly in the Urgut district. But it even happens that many entrepreneurs bring the ripened grapes from other regions of Uzbekistan to Urgut, to local craftsmen who keep strictly their secrets and make various kinds of kishmish from it.
Check the photos of how the best sorts of dried fruits look like. They are considered the best and were done without using any chemicals, only the energy of the Sun to dry them
This maize bazaar is actually considered a small wholesale bazaar. Larger wholesalers go across the road, where in a quiet corner there is a completely unnoticeable but larger wholesale trade goes on. Looking from outside you would never guess about that. It looks more like some kind of improvised rural exhibition, where the farmers demonstrate their varieties of dried fruits. In a small fenced area gather several dozen sellers and hundreds of buyers. Right on the ground, in small bags and sachets lie the samples of kishmish, dried apricots, prunes, dried fruits, and sometimes walnuts and peanuts. Yes, it is here that the largest deals are struck! All the goods are at farmers’ homes, and here they demonstrate only samples. And if one of the buyers is interested in this or that variety, is satisfied with the quality, price and quantity of the goods, then further bargaining will take place at home of this seller. So dear friends! If you want the best quality and cheap kishmish and dried apricots, then you should come here!
The third and the largest is the famous Urgut bazaar, that has so much written about. It is located directly by the main road leading from Samarkand to Urgut, shortly after the entrance to Urgut. But it was planned to be relocated to a new place, a few kilometers from the main road. If you go from Urgut to the village of Karatepa, you can see these new pavilions to the right of the road. Of course, the old atmosphere of the bazaar is likely to be lost, although on the other hand - the iron stands in the old place were not so colorful.
Urgut bazaar operates works mainly on Saturday and Sunday. Especially on Sunday the bazaar is very big. They come here from all over the republic, and earlier from other republics as well, to sell or buy the necessary things and products for the everyday life. And you can find here literally everything: national clothes and footwear, chapans (male gowns), women's and men's skullcaps, holiday turban, boots and galoshes. In the neighborhood there are aisles with all kinds of bright fabrics and threads, women's jewelry and even kuzmunchok (glass beads from the evil eye).
Separately there are aisles with ironware, ceramic utensils, chests for dowry, upholstered in bright and colorful patterns. Here they also sell modern suzane and carpets, and all around is the color and shine of these bright oriental goods! Of course, the market is full of modern factory clothes as well, in the end of the day not all of them dress only in national clothes. And, of course, food products, not just factory-produced and brought here from other regions, but also manufactured in Urgut, for example, flat breads. Urgut bread are markedly different from the famous Samarkand bread. If in Samarkand the read is heavy and dense and is made of light varieties of flour, in Urgut the bread is less bulky, but noticeably darker, has its own unique taste and aroma.
The so-called antique bazaar is where they sell the famous suzane. Under a large awning there are two small aisles with sellers of suzane, skullcap, jewelery and some antique stuff. The place is behind the main market and to reach it just go strictly straight from the main entrance.
Here guides from Samarkand bring foreign tourists who want to buy some antique stuff and souvenirs. Be ready to be surrounded by the sellers from all sides as soon as they realize that you are a serious buyer. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have a guide with you to get rid of annoying sellers. Still, be firm but always polite, in the end of the day these people are just trying to earn for the living.
Famous suzane are actually embroidered bedspreads, which decorated the walls and furniture in Uzbek houses. Each large region of Uzbekistan has its own suzane school, including the eternal rivals Bukhara and Samarkand. The main difference is not even in drawing, but the technique of the seam, but an amateur who is far from needlework these differences cannot be understood. The easiest to distinguish are suzane from Bukhara and Nurata - white background and with fine flower patterns; and Samarkand and Kashkadarya - a bright background with a variety of figures and geometrical patterns. The development of regional schools was not synchronized, in Samarkand where there was more money circling and more new trends absorbed, whilst the Urgut suzane is like a suzane from Samarkand a hundred years ago: more primitive, almost cartoonish, but attractive in its archaism.
Below is the classic Urgut suzane - they can also be black on a white background, but it seems that on the contrary - white on black.